Short Story 

Return of the Vicious Circle

Fresh from their success with the Collective Novel Experiment, and with two grants lining the coffers, Whistler’s Writers Group, the Vicious Circle, has confirmed CanLit leading lights Susan Musgrave, Caroline Adderson, and Brian Kaufman as workshop leaders for the annual festival and retreat to be held in Whistler from Sept. 8 to 13.

Registration for the entire five-day writing retreat is open to anyone, with 21 spaces available, in either fiction or non-fiction stream, at a price of $500 (discounted to $375 if participants arrange their own accommodation). Large portions of the program are also available on a drop-in basis. Morning lectures will be presented by Ross Laird on ethical issues related to craft and tapping into your creativity, Mary Schendlinger on the how to get work published, Patti Osborne on self publishing and Rebecca Wood Barrett on pitching stories to publishers.

A detailed program, bios of all the writing mentors and presenters, and information about the pitching session, are available online. To register, or find out more about the Retreat, lecturers and mentors, and readings visit the group’s newly launched website,

In anticipation of the Writers Festival, Pique Newsmagazine is showcasing four short stories written by local writers. These stories will run over the next four weeks. We hope you enjoy these stories and will come out and hear more local and national writers read and talk about their work.



Excerpt from This Cage of Bones

This is an excerpt from my mystery novel set in Whistler, called This Cage of Bones, a story that explores the boundaries of revenge and forgiveness. In this scene a young woman is in the hospital in Vancouver following a car accident in which she lost her leg. Doctors tried to save as much as they could, but Claire is now facing a second, radical surgery, called a hemi-pelvectomy, in which half the hip and pelvis are also amputated. Her general practitioner from Whistler is also in this scene.

By Pam Barnsley

Claire didn’t even turn her head when she heard footsteps approaching her hospital bed. She hated all of them, every goddamn chirping nurse and sombre doctor, every regimental physiotherapist and apologetic lab technician. The only person she wanted to see was a euthanizer, and if the hospital had one on staff, the provincial wait list was probably three years long.

"Hello, Claire."

Claire turned back, and almost smiled. Dr. Abdalrahman held out the local Whistler newspapers.

Claire rolled her eyes. "You think I’m missing the grocery coupons?"

"I thought you might want something to read, see what’s happening at home." He pulled the visitor’s chair closer.


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